Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn and the late J.J. Jackson were MTV’s original VJs.
At 12:01 a.m. August 1, 1981, 36 years ago today, Music Television launched. And the world has never been the same.
Original MTV VJs Alan Hunter and Mark Goodman spill the beans on what it was like to do coke with David Lee Roth…
I went to a rock festival in New Jersey; Van Halen and a bunch of other people were playing. Daryl Hall and John Oates were onstage, but I was hunting around for Mark. I walked around backstage, going from trailer to trailer. I knocked on a door, opened it up, and Mark was in there with David Lee Roth. “Hey, come on in, close the door.” I walked in and they were sitting at a little table — Dave had a big vial of coke. They invited me to join them.
I said, “I didn’t mean to horn in, but okay.”
We partook of the coke and had a grand time. And then people started knocking on the door: a producer or a friend or something. And one by one, they came in and sat in another part of the trailer while the three of us stayed seated, chatting, having a beer, doing another line. Before we knew it, the trailer was packed. No one was sitting with us, because they didn’t know David — we did. And they were all just watching us do blow. It was like we were royalty; we were completely nonchalant about fifty other people watching us do blow. People in the TV world, publicists, people we didn’t know. Any of them could have gone out and said, “Man, we’re watching two VJs sit there with David Lee Roth doing blow.” It was like people at orgies watching other people have sex.
David Lee Roth was convinced that he was the hottest rock star in creation. Dave was the funniest guy on the planet — to him. He laughed at all his own jokes. But his mind worked at three hundred miles an hour. These phrases would just fall out of his face — he’d be talking about people who were idiots, and he’d say, “You know, speed-limit IQ.” Or regarding other bands that weren’t as amazing as Van Halen: “Here today . . . gone later today.”
When things started to go really badly with my wife (DJ Carol Miller), I needed to get away. Roth was on his first solo tour, and I was friends with Pete Angelus, who had become Dave’s manager. They invited me out on the road — I flew out to meet them in Detroit and rode the bus with them for a week or so.
Dave wanted to cheer me up. So in Buffalo or someplace, whatever hockey arena we were in, Pete sent me into the locker room. I thought Dave was going to be there and we were going to do some blow. I walked in and this girl came out of the showers. She was hot, in a slutty rock ’n’ roll kind of way, and she started chatting with me. After a short time, she got onto her knees and started to unzip my pants. And I felt weird about it — I had to tell her, “I can’t.” I think that may have negatively affected my friendship with Dave; he just wanted to make me feel better.
When Dave was touring, both with Van Halen and solo, he had the barriers in front of the stage painted different colors on the side that faced him: red, blue, and green, to denote the different areas of the audience. He’d look for hot girls in the crowd, and between songs, go to his assistant Eddie on the side of the stage, and say, “Green, right, fourteen rows back, three seats in.” The assistant would go out into the audience and stick a pass on her (breasts). So after the show, there’d be twenty-five girls in the dressing room who all thought they’d been singled out to be with Dave that night. In fact, a number of them would be. The others would end up with other band members — or, if necessary, the crew.
I would hear stories from these guys about the stuff they would do on the road. Pete told me about overhearing a band member with a girl on the back of the bus. She was saying, “I don’t want to b— you.” His line to her became a catchphrase with the band and the crew for the rest of the tour: “Just f—ing do it.” They thought that was hysterical, and I couldn’t handle it. They would have girls do headstands in toilets — they thought it was the funniest thing ever, but it was just gross and sad. It wasn’t lost on me that these girls were there by choice and at any time could have said, “F— off, I’m not doing that!” Still, I couldn’t treat another human being like that. I wish I could have gotten it together for that girl who came out of the showers, though.
One night in Los Angeles, we went to a place called the 0-1 Gallery on Melrose … Around four in the morning, Dave and I were in the bathroom doing a bump or two, when all of a sudden, we heard screaming. Somebody came running into the bathroom saying, “The cops are here! The cops are here!”
Dave immediately sprang into action. He tied his hair back and tucked in his shirt. He had a big vial that he dropped out the bath- room window. I threw my vial out and we casually strolled out into the club. The LAPD came in with their guns drawn. They were really over the top. There was a lot of shouting and pushing and gun waving as we tried to get out of the club without being noticed. That wasn’t happening: They had all of us go out on the street. They lined us up on Melrose and were looking at us, literally shining flashlights in our faces. This was a rare moment where I saw Dave not trying to be David Lee Roth; he just wanted to blend. But nobody recognized him — the cops didn’t, anyway. They made us disperse, meaning that they yelled, “Get the f— out of here.” I looked the other way for a second, and Dave had already taken off.
From NY Daily News.
Together, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn and the late J.J. Jackson invented the role of VJ and worked it on MTV from 1981 to 1985. The four survivors tell all in “VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave,” an oral history with Gavin Edwards. They were in business with the gods of rock. Sometimes it was a party. Sometimes it was something else. In the following excerpt, VJs Alan Hunter and Mark Goodman dish on David Lee Roth.
MTV VJs now: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter.